Artificial intelligence is transforming business and reshaping the nature of work. At Celosphere 2023, industry leaders in technology, retail, consumer goods and logistics gathered for a panel discussion on how enterprises are using generative AI and process intelligence to unleash people’s productivity and potential. During the 30-minute session cohosted by Celonis and IBM, the expert panelists shared practical use cases, implementation best practices and their expectations for the future.
GenAI (generative AI) and LLMs (large language models) have near limitless potential to transform how organizations operate, how businesses run and how people work. Stephan Bloehdorn, DACH GenAI leader for IBM, highlighted the current state of AI by opening the panel with findings from an August 2023 study by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV). According to the study, 69% of CEOs see broad value for AI in their organizations. Bloehdorn also cited estimates from McKinsey that generative AI could add between $2.6 trillion and $4.4 trillion in annual value to the global economy.
From left to right, Stephan Bloehdorn, Kuldeep Dudeja, and Florian Tué, on stage at Celosphere 2023.
Bloehdorn asked the panelists to share insights into how their companies are using generative AI:
Reckitt: Kuldeep Dudeja, IT&D Director, Digital Transformation at Reckitt, said the company’s AI journey started nearly a decade ago and started working with GenAI earlier this year. He said the British multinational consumer packaged goods company is using generative AI for tasks like the summarization of things, data extraction and content creation. In the future, the company has plans to use GenAI for things like the classification of unstructured data and sentiment analysis.
Carrefour: Florian Tué, Head of Procurement Transformation at Carrefour, said that GenAI has delivered productivity gains for the company and for him personally. “I use it for my daily tasks because it's a huge gain of productivity for doing the minutes of meetings,” said Tué. The French multinational retailer is currently running a GenAI proof of concept (POC) project using ChatGPT to compare procurement quotes. “We realized comparing three quotes would take around 30 minutes for a buyer to do it manually,” he said. “If we do it with ChatGPT and the POC that we've been running, it takes only 10 minutes. So the 20 minutes productivity gain is huge for our organization, and that's why we'll be pushing it so much.”
Logistics and package delivery: The panel representative from a global logistics, courier and package delivery company said they were using GenAI across domains, including copilots to improve employee productivity, software development and even warehouse design.
The wide range of use cases shared by the panelists reflects the diverse applications of GenAI. However, the panelists also acknowledged the ethics and privacy concerns around AI’s use and outlined the ways their organizations are working to use the technology responsibly, like being prepared to comply with the EU’s proposed AI Act.
The IBM report data and panelist use cases illustrate that GenAI isn’t merely a futuristic concept, but a present-day reality with tangible benefits. However, as Bloehdorn pointed out, the IBM survey also showed that 30% of non-CEO senior executives say their organizations are not ready to adopt GenAI responsibly. A potential hurdle to GenAI, and more specifically LLM, adoption is that the technology doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It needs to speak the language of business to reach its full potential. This is why process intelligence, according to the panel, is critical.
Echoing the words of Filippo Catalano, chief information and digitization officer and Reckitt, who spoke during the Celosphere 2023 keynote, Dudeja said process intelligence offers tremendous opportunity. On the back end, he believes process intelligence will enable GenAI with better data. On the front end, he said it can enable the users to take more data-driven actions.
Dudeja outlined one use case for process-intelligent GenAI that Reckitt is working on–better identification of price mismatches in their procure-to-pay process.
Typically Reckitt does a three-way match, between what’s in their master data, the purchase order (PO) and their invoices. With process intelligence and GenAI, they can expand the process to a four-way match, pulling unstructured data from thousands of legal contracts that come in all different types.
“It's not humanly possible to really extract that information and validate [it] at the transaction level,” Dudeja said. “So when you're looking at a scale, you need that kind of capability from generative AI.”
On the front end, GenAI helps employees better interact with the now four-dimensional data and identify invoices with out-of-sync payment terms or pricing. The technology can then help them take appropriate corrective action and drive working capital improvements.
“If you combine those two together, it's tremendous,” he said. “We have proven the technology, [and] now that it works at both the ends, now we have to see whether it can work at scale.”
The panelists shared advice for companies interested in using process-intelligence and generative AI:
Focus on specific business problems where GenAI can be applied, paying particular attention to potential ROI
Start by mapping end-to-end processes to identify potential GenAI use cases
Make GenAI part of your company’s strategic transformation agenda and ensure dedicated ownership
Don’t forget about culture and change management
Looking ahead, all the panelists said their companies plan to expand their use of generative AI and process intelligence. The logistics and delivery company is looking forward to getting better, more targeted insights with GenAI augmented by process intelligence. Reckitt aims to scale up their current procurement use case, using a larger dataset and exposing the tool to more users. Due to GenAI’s rapidly-evolving nature, Tué said Carrefour is focused on short-term uses and pushing forward their current procurement proof of concept, extending the number of users and the service level of the tool.
Whatever GenAI and process intelligence use cases companies implement, Bloehdorn said it’s critical to take a strategic perspective in determining where the value can be generated. “And I think process mining, everything we discussed here, is a useful tool to do exactly this,” he said.